A Killing Curse
Bruce Von Stiers
There are many superstitions. Quite a few come from what is sometimes called the “old world.” The Baltic region is one area where some of the strongest superstitions come from. There are tales and rumors that surround certain activities and groups of people from that region. But are they really true?
There is a new film that asks us to believe one such rumor. The backstory for the rumor is that there were gifted women who led clans in the Baltic region. They formed sisterhoods of three to control the earthly elements. Even though it was forbidden, some of the sisterhoods practiced what was called death magic. They became feared and were hunted, forcing them to flee to America.
In America, the sisterhoods thrived. All but one it seems. This sisterhood consisted of Hana, Naida and Aishe.
This is the premise that begins the film, The Accursed. The film was produced by Almost Normal Productions along with Blue Jean Baby Productions and RMR Productions. It is a horror film with a lot of mystery and psychological drama included.
The film opens with a young woman, Aishe, at a wedding dance and looking for someone. She comes to a cabin, and upon entering, sees her husband, Tomas, having sex with someone. That someone is Hana, one of the members of her sisterhood, and her best friend. In a confrontation with Aishe, Tomas gets pushed back and impaled on something, killing him. The third member of their sisterhood, Naida, tries to help. A fight ensues between Aishe and Hana and Aishe ends up dying. But not before saying a curse to damn Hana and kill off her entire bloodline. But the last words of the curse weren't spoken. Or were they?
There are things to be done to ensure that the curse hasn't been invoked. That includes the severing of a hand to place over the mouth of Aishe so that the final words of the curse are never spoken.
Then the film moves forward 22 years. Hana's son Petar is getting married. There is a lot of tension between Hana and Naida, who is revealed to be Hana's actual sister. And there is a certain uneasiness surrounding the wedding and the party afterwards. But Petar and his new bride, Sunny, seem to be so happy.
The film moves throughout the wedding day and into the evening. Various people are introduced, such as friends and a few cousins, one of which is really drunk. Then there is Naida's daughter Zara. She sings a beautiful song for the new married couple and we find out later that she has other talents. And there is Nicola, Hana's husband. He's kind of a quiet, laid back guy. It is later revealed that he's researching things about the family and their particular sisterhood.
The film brings forth a tension between Hana and Naida that is pretty intense. And several strange things, such as invoking spells and dangerous creeping vines begin to wind their way through the film. As the day progresses, Petar still seems to be enjoying his wedding day. But there is something a bit off with Sunny.
For me, an interesting aside for the film is that some of the dialog isn't in English. A few of the characters speak another language to each other. These scenes are done with English sub-titles letting the audience know what was being said. That is also done when those spells I just mentioned are being cast. The language seems to be of old Eastern European Baltic origin. Apparently, Hana and the others still keep the old country language as part of their lives.
The film does a good job of keeping the suspense going. From the uneasiness and tension between Hana and Naida to various things that come up during the course of the story, you get a sense that something very wrong is going to happen. But is there really something evil about to spring forward?
Yancy Butler plays Hana. Yancy has been in Witchblade, As The World Turns among other shows and films such as Kick Ass 2 and The Assassins Code. Dana Melanie played the younger version of Hana. She's played a young Emily Dickinson and was in the Netflix series Greenhouse Academy.
Melora Walters is Naida. She has been seen on NCIS and Law & Order: SVU and films such as The Lovers and Good After Bad. Brianna Joy Chomer is young Naida. Her previous films include Sorority Slaughterhouse and The Wrong Roommate.
Goran Visnjic is Nicola. Even though he's been in a lot of films and television shows, my favorite roles of Goran's was Luka Kovac on ER and Garcia Flynn on Timeless. Zara is played by Maiara Walsh. Her credits include The Last Ship and Switched At Birth.
As for the bride and groom, George Harrison Xanthis plays Petar. His credits include the mini-series Les Norton and episodes of this year's season of American Crime Story. And Isabela Vidovic is Sunny. Having had recurring roles in Supergirl and Veronica Mars, Isabela in currently appearing in episodes of Law and Order: Organized Crime.
A few of the actors who play minor roles in the film are Miraj Grbic, Ian Foster,Maria Omaljev and Ella Mische, who was in another film I recently reviewed, Tango Shalom. There is also Jake B. Miller and Alla Tumanian in minor roles. Even though he's only in the film for a hort time, Nick Cassidy plays Tomas.
And Aishe is played by Jena Carpenter. Although she's acted In a few films and television shows, Jena is mostly known as a stunt rigger for shows such as Fear Factor and Ellen's Game of Games.
The cinematography and editing was done by Austin Nordell. The list of his work behind the camera could fill a whole paragraph.
The film was written and directed by Kathryn Michelle and Elizabeta Vidovic. Kathryn has several acting roles behind her including being seen on the Andy Dick Show and Criminal Minds. She also has numerous writing, directing and producing credits. Elizabeta has had several film roles, and like Kathryn, has a bunch of writing, directing and producing credits.
Other people involved with the film's production included Lindsay Chag, Lisa Ellingwood, Andrew Baron and Carl Ciarfalio.
I thought that The Accursed was a really good horror film. It had a significant amount of suspense that held my attention. Several times during the film, a scene would be unfolding and I would find myself wondering if something bad was about to happen. There wasn't a lot of profanity and there wasn't an overabundance of violence and gore that you often finds in films in this genre. The actors did an excellent job with their roles and the cinematography was fluid.
The Accursed is available from iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, RedBox ondemand and other services. It has also been showing at selected theaters.
To find out more about The Accursed, visit the film's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/The-Accursed-101361765467139/ or the web site for the production company,
Almost Normal Productions. Their site is http://www.almostnormalproductions.com/
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© 2021 Bruce E Von Stiers